The Word of God and the City of Man

November 2012


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Comment Magazine - The Word of God and the City of Man

01

Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent

Book of Common Prayer

02

Editorial: The Word of God and the City of Man

By Peter Leithart

The Bible has done its proper work when it produces a certain kind of person.

08

Politics Without Scripts

By Paul Brink

A vision of politics in which Christianity and liberalism have both been disestablished.

12

Revisiting Sola Scriptura

By James R. Payton, Jr.

The Reformers' understanding of Sola Scriptura is forthrightly opposed to what many have come to take as its meaning.

18

Zechariah in Public

By Al Wolters

The city of man is meant to become the city of God—arranging its civic affairs in a manner which deserves the epithet HOLY TO THE LORD.

23

The Bible and Cultural Discipleship

By Richard Mouw

Fallen, but created: this world is not unsalvageable.

30

The Book of Books: What Literature Owes the Bible

By Marilynne Robinson

Literature puts flesh on Scripture and doctrine, and tests them by means of dramatic imagination.

34

They Who Have Ears to Hear, Let Them See?

By Daniel Siedell

Considering aspects of modern art that have been despised by most theologians and Christian art writers.

42

Scripture is Not Our Dog

By Dru Johnson

Unless we heedfully consider both the Scripture's content and form, we run the risk of making God's revelation into a pet: loved but powerless.

50

What Made Dagon Bow?

By J. Mark Bertrand

While the Israelite army was defeated in battle, their God with no army brought the enemy to its knees.

56

Towards Transformational Reading of Scripture

By Jean Vanier

We must gradually live as Jesus lived, love as he loved, and choose to become little and humble as Jesus was.

62

"Render Unto Caesar": The Christian's Call to Action or Retreat?

By Lynn Cohick

How did Jesus's words and actions about the kingdom of God define and shape the apostolic response to the Roman empire?

70

The Blessedness of Faith: Why Politics Needs Religion

By Raymond J. de Souza

If religion and religious behaviours are driven to the margins of our common life, including our political life, we deprive ourselves of intellectual and practical energies.

77

Why Illumine?

By Makoto Fujimura

Do images detract from experiencing the word of God?

82

Anchors Aweigh! The Neglected Art of Theological Interpretation

By Matthew Milliner

The nature of visual art sometimes permits it to do a better job of spiritually interpreting the Bible than can text.

92

God and American Foreign Relations: Guarding the "Little Platoons"

By Paul S. Rowe

Ensuring faith is lived out by the American people, not consigned to presidential theocracy.

98

Here is the Privilege, and Here is the Cost

By Benjamin Kwashi

Wherever the Gospel is truly lived, it demands change in behaviour, courtesy, and character.

105

Reading the Bible . . . and Longing to Know

By Esther Meek

The Bible is a doorway to a person, an invitation waiting to be sent. When we read it obediently and expectantly, like an actor, we find gracious and surprising self-disclosure.

112

Can There Be an Evangelical Political Theology?

By Matthew Lee Anderson

The church's life together is the soil from which political theology springs.

118

What is Old and What is New

By Ryan O'Dowd

How and why the Old Testament matters for public life today.

124

Reading the Bible Like a Grown-Up Child

By Calvin Seerveld

It's not easy to read the Bible. It's easier to read it wrong or not to read it at all. But it is an amazing book of life and forgiveness when you read it like a grown-up-turned-child, believing expectantly on your knees.

This Issue

The Bible is not a compendium of doctrines, ideas, or rules. Scripture teaches, but teaches through stories, poetry, exhortation, visions, letters. It addresses the whole man—our minds, but also our passions, imaginations, loves, and desires. Christians who attempt to apply the Bible to political life, for example, often focus so completely on discovering ethical standards that they ignore the significance of Scripture's rhetoric.

The Bible has done its proper work when it produces a certain kind of person. Scripture's target is not primarily ideas or worldviews. Scripture aims to shape people. And people moulded by the Word of God not only bring that Word to the city of man. In union with the eternal Word, they are the Word of God in the city of man.

—Peter Leithart, Guest Editor

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